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(Oil on paper) Installation

A work made of chromogenic print.
© Koji Enokura.

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  • A work made of chromogenic print.




Koji Enokura
Japanese, 1942-1995

About this artwork

Koji Enokura was one of the leading practitioners of Mono-ha, the Japanese art movement that began in Tokyo in 1968 and continued into the early 1970s. Roughly translated, Mono-ha means “school of things” and references the materials, both natural and man-made, used by the artists affiliated with the movement. These “things” included dirt, glass, grease, oil, paper, plastic, rope, stone, and steel. Defining Mono-ha by materials alone denies a crucial aspect of the movement: the arrangement and placement of objects in space, and the object’s relationship to the viewer as well. As Enokura stated, “making the viewer become aware of his position in relation to the work is also something which the Mono-ha artists aimed for.”

Connections can certainly be made between Mono-ha and its western counterparts of Conceptualism, Minimalism, Process Art and Earthworks. Mono-ha artists influenced by Eastern philosophies, aimed for more subtle effect than many of their Western counterparts. Indeed, much of their work relied on temporal—often ephemeral—propositions. Unlike many of the artworks of the west, they were not intended to last a lifetime. As such, photographic documentation became extremely important to Mono-ha artists. For Enokura it was crucial. He had no desire to recreate his original installations, and as time went on, the photographic document invariably (by default) became the work of art.

(Oil on paper) Installation, 1974 is a photograph that documents similar installations. In this work Enokura has used paper soaked in oil. The resulting surfaces are suffused with texture. Again Enokura has arranged these materials so they can be read as either advancing or receding into space, setting up a tension between matter and environment, and viewer and object. By nature, Koji Enorkura’s work was temporary and ephemeral. It is not surprising then that he used the camera as an extension of his artistic practice. His thorough investigations, recordings and documentations of his work have allowed them to live on after they, and the artist himself, have ceased to exist.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Koji Enokura


(Oil on paper) Installation


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1974


Chromogenic print


Image: 48.8 × 48.9 cm (19 1/4 × 19 5/16 in.); Paper: 55.2 × 50.2 cm (21 3/4 × 19 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art; Contemporary Art Discretionary Fund

Reference Number



© Koji Enokura.

Extended information about this artwork

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